Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul is playing his 15th NBA season, so he’s keen on how teams operate and handle their business.
A nine-time All-Star, Paul recently shed some light on the business of NBA trades with Kevin Hart on the comedian’s YouTube show “Cold as Balls.” Paul also spoke on the trade that sent him from the Houston Rockets to the Thunder during the offseason.
When Hart asked Paul about how trades go down, Paul stated:
“Every situation is different, but the team is gonna do whatever they wanna do. They’ll tell you one thing and do a smooth other thing.”
Hart then asked Paul about his feelings on being traded from the Rockets. Paul was traded in exchange for Russell Westbrook, two first-round draft picks and the rights to two first-round pick swaps in 2021 and 2025.
“The (general manager) in Houston, he don’t owe me nothin’,” Paul said. “You know what I mean? He may tell me one thing, but do another thing. But you just understand that that’s what it is.”
After the Rockets were eliminated from the playoffs in May, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that general manager Daryl Morey had an “aggressive desire” to improve the team.
According to the report, the only player who was relatively untouchable was James Harden, as the likelihood of moving him was “extremely limited.”
Shortly after the ESPN report, Morey said that Houston would keep its “key people” for the 2019-20 season, per RealGM.
With Paul elaborating on the trade, it shows how the league is a business. Teams, particularly playoff and title contenders, will do anything to improve. That’s why player empowerment is becoming increasingly more important, as players can feel encouraged to choose their own paths.